Exit Interview: Seth Maness

For the fourth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season.  Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series.  All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis.  Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.

Player: Seth Maness

Season stats: 4-2, 3 SV, 4.26 ERA, 76 games, 63.1 IP, 77 H, 7 HR, 13 BB, 46 K, 1.421 WHIP, 3.78 FIP, -0.7 bWAR

Hero/Goat: Hero 1, Goat 2

Overall grade: B-

Positives: Went 3-0 at home, but his road ERA was much better (3.16)….had a strong June, posting a 0.93 ERA in 9.2 innings….batters just had a .689 OPS against him with one out in an inning….induced 11 double plays on the season….allowed a .247 average with runners and scoring position, a number that dropped to .231 when there were two outs….was his best in high-leverage situations, limiting hitters to a .167/.213/.238 mark.

Negatives: The career high in appearances may have taken something out of him, because the overall numbers were not what fans have come to expect….11 double plays was the fewest he’s gotten since he started in the big leagues….followed up his great June with a terrible July (1-1, 5.56 ERA)….batters hit over .300 against him in both halves of the season….had a 5.34 ERA in Busch Stadium….was scored upon in four of his 12 September outings, with three of them being multi-run outings….left-handers hit .361 against him.

Overview: It wasn’t quite the Maness we have been used to, was it?  While Maness wound up as one of the most used relievers in baseball, the results didn’t really justify his regular usage.  It wasn’t even a “needs more rest” thing, as he had a better OPS against with no days’ rest than he did in any other days’-rest situation.  (Though, on two days’ rest, his ERA was a significantly better 2.04, which was the best ERA in those splits by a long shot.)  Matheny still considered Maness one of his lock-down guys, though, which is why he had such a high usage this year, second only to Kevin Siegrist on the team.  That worked sometimes, didn’t work sometimes.  It didn’t work enough that it was cause for concern, I think.

Outlook: Maness is arbitration eligible and likely will wind up with a contract that buys out his arbitration years.  That said, and all the various issues with small sample size, etc., Maness’s 2015 should give some people pause about keeping him around long-term.  It could be a dip in the road, it could be the league figuring him out.  He definitely should be in the bullpen in 2016, but I’d keep a little tighter leash on him until they see exactly which Maness is going to show up.

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